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May 2011

Engage in Citizen Science on Your Mobile Phone and on Google Earth

Last month, Save the Redwoods League launched the citizen science project Redwood Watch that asks nature-lovers everywhere to help the League track and monitor redwoods by sharing their digital photographs of redwood trees with the time and location where the picture was taken.  The photos can be taken with the free Redwood Watch iPhone application or digital camera and then uploaded to the website

iNaturalist, a platform for recording, organizing and mapping nature observations, will store these photos and (if geographical coordinates weren’t captured automatically) use the Google Maps APIs to assign the right locations to the observations. 

With these geolocated observations, scientists and citizen scientists alike can zoom out and analyze them in the context of global environmental and climatic patterns. iNaturalist users can download a live feed of redwood observations as KML to bring into Google Earth. 

No redwoods in your area? No problem! iNaturalist lets you upload types of plants and animals from all around the world. Discover more about and the Redwood Watch project and start contributing your own observations.

Putting your non-profit on the map!

More and more people are searching for businesses and organizations (like yours!) on Google Maps, so it’s important to take a few minutes to customize how your nonprofit is listed using Google Places!

A Google Places page is a listing on Google Maps that people will find when searching, so it's important to make sure your listing is informative and customized to get the most out of the listing! For example, Greeninfo based out of San Francisco has adding photographs of their work to their Google Places page.

We've put together some useful tips and tricks below for you so you can take advantage of these features and create a work of art worthy of any user's attention!

  • Go to, and click “Get Started” and then “List your business”. Another way is to search for your nonprofit on Google Maps, click on the result, and then click on “Business Owner?”
  • You may need to verify that you are, in fact, the owner, and this can be checked with either a phone call or a snail-mail postcard to the organization's address. Once verified, you can start enhancing the Places page for your organization
  • Add or edit (if necessary) the physical location of your organization. You can also move the marker to the correct location on the map. (Remember: these aren't individual projects or field locations where you work; this is the location of your organization’s headquarters or regional branches.)
  • Add photos, images, and videos of the work that you do. If applicable, add a description, encouraging people to “Join Now!” or “Donate Now!” with a link to your website.
  • Confirm the other details for your listing, make any changes as necessary, and click “Submit”.

Want even more information do you? OK, no problem! Just visit this blog post

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your....maps!

Google My Maps are a simple and effective way for anyone, even those with limited technical knowledge to create a map and share it with others. One of the best ways Google My Maps can help the non-profit community is by allowing them to plot the locations of their offices, and where they're involved in projects.

We're looking to highlight some of these, simple yet compelling uses. So we're asking for your help as the web is a pretty big place nowadays! If you're a non profit, or you know of a map that a non-profit organization has created, all we're asking you to do is to fill out this form, add a couple of details to it and hit submit. As if by magic, your information will be sent to us! If we see something we like (and there's no reason to think we won't be blown away as usual), we'll try to help promote the map! Simple!

We'll see you next month! In the mean time, you can stay in touch with the latest news from @earthoutreach on Twitter!